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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Batman vs Superman Batman
Action Figure Comparison Review

Mattel
Date Published: 2016-01-13>
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.25 out of 4

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Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Introduction

It seems like the big blockbuster season starts earlier and earlier every year. Key franchise films and big budget movies were once saved for the Memorial Day to Labor Day time frame, with special dispensation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but that all begins in March now with even a few stragglers backing up into February. With Deadpool hitting in February and Allegiant in early March, movie mayhem is getting a quick start in 2016.

Batman vs Superman is the perfect example of a movie that only a few years ago would have been a Memorial Day or Fourth of July release. But with a crowded field of big budget superhero action movies, Warner Brothers is opting for the 'early bird gets the worm' approach and releasing it in mid-March.  Trailers galore have already been out, and I suspect we'll see the press junket rolling soon as well. Thanks to the timing of major retailer resets, the toys are also out in major force with two months still to go.

Mattel is doing two unique action figure lines for the film, both approximately 6" tall but not actually in scale with each other. One is a 'basic' movie assortment, with limited articulation and accessories and lower overall quality.  The lower $10 price point reflects this. The other line, part of their Multiverse series and sometimes referred to as Movie Masters in reference to their older 6" movie line, retails for $20 and has more articulation, better sculpting and a greater number of paint operations.  Both series are currently shipping to mass market retailers.

Last week I did a comparison review of the Wonder Woman from each series, and I'm following that up this week with a look at the standard Batman. I suspect I'll also take this approach with Superman, although whether I extend this concept to other characters and variants that appear in both series remains to be seen.

I'll point out which Batman is in which photo as I go along. The first shot at the top of the review is of the Multiverse version, although that's not his grappling gun. I'll explain why he's carrying it further into the review. The photo directly below with the LifeSizer feature is the basic version.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Packaging - Basic ***; Multi ***1/2
There's no real change here from the Wonder Woman category.  The basic line comes on decent looking card backs, with a standard bubble. This normal looking Batman is called the 'grapnel blast' Batman, thanks to his accessory.  The rest of the line is on the back, but while it's all attractive, it's not collector friendly.

The Multiverse version comes in a box with a peg hanger.  This is similar to the Star Wars Black 6" series, except this time they've cut off one corner to give the box a little uniqueness. I didn't include a shot this time around, but you can see what it looks like in the Wonder Woman review. It is collector friendly, although the accessory is held to the cardboard tray with a rubber band.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Sculpting - Basic **1/2; Multi ***
This is an older, stockier, thicker Batman. He's not fat. And he will kick your ass if you say he is.

The Multiverse version mirrors the new design pretty well, considering the price point. They've captured the proportions well, and have the thick neck with the wide cowl and short ears just about right. I even see a bit of Affleck in the chin and mouth, at least as much as normal for a $20 figure these days.

There's some nice texturing work as well, with the costume, bat symbol, cape, and cowl all appearing slightly different. I'm not quite sure why the cowl has a texture and the cape/neck does not, but until we see the movie I can't really judge how well it matches.

The Multiverse figures are slightly larger, and Batman comes in at 6 1/2" without the ears.  The basic version is shorter, coming in at just 6" tall without the ears.

The basic version has a much more comic book look. While they paid a slight homage to the new costume, particularly in the shape and style of the cowl and the cross hatching on the symbol, the majority of the proportions and body style are traditional. From the basic yellow belt to the V shaped torso, it's clear they weren't going for movie accuracy.

I have two major issues with the sculpt on the basic release that pull it down significantly. First, there's the Popeye style forearms. The lower arms and hands are HUGE compared to the rest of the body, and it creates a goofy overall appearance.

The other major problem is the cape. Looking at the figure on the pegs I couldn't decide for sure whether it was cloth or rubber. Turns out, that's because it's neither - it's vinyl. Yep, a cheap piece of black vinyl. While cloth remains my favorite choice, I much prefer the rubber used with the Multiverse release.

The photo directly below is the Multiverse version.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Paint - Basic **; Multi **1/2
Ugh. There's little to be positive about in this category.

There is one plus - the eyes on both figures are surprisingly good considering the scale, price point and the quality of the rest of the paint operations. In fact, it's pretty surprising they got the eyes straight when just below there's a huge black mark on the lower face from sloppy work on the cowl. Both figures have this problem, but it's all the worse on the basic figure.

More issues arise around the symbol on both chests, and in fact, the black paint work is pretty awful just about everywhere. The edges are quite sloppy, and there's stray marks and dripping.

The Multiverse version has what appears to be brass on the knuckles of the gloves and toes of the boots. It's a bit of a weird look, although not quite at the level of odd that we saw with the bat nipples during Shumacher's reign of terror. Maybe it will make sense within the context of the film (Kryptonite, anyone?) but without context it's weird.

The figure shown below is the basic release.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Articulation - Basic **; Multi ***
The Multiverse figures have articulation similar to the old DCUC line, although not quite as free flowing.

The Multiverse Batman has a ball jointed neck, but the neck and cowl tend to restrict any tilt movement. The rotating hinge shoulders, cut biceps, pin elbows and cut wrists allow for a reasonable number of arm poses, and the cut waist and ab-crunch are welcome.  I do wish the ab-crunch could tilt a little further forward, but it's a minor nit.

The legs sport double hinge hips, cut thighs, pin knees and pin ankles. The ankles have excellent forward and backward movement, but there's no rocker joint, making it tough to do deeper stances. This is the one joint they really, really need to add.

The basic figure is, well, basic.  There's a cut neck, cut shoulders, huge, ugly rotating hinge elbows, T hips and pin knees. No dynamic poses here, and you're lucky to just find a decent enough standing stance.

Below you can see the Multiverse figure showing off.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Accessories - **1/2
The Multiverse figure would have received a Bupkis, but he does come with a piece for the 'collect and connect' replica grappling gun. Whether this gun is going to be any good or not remains to be seen, and Batman doesn't have the most exciting piece. He comes with the bat symbol base that attaches to the support piece we already saw with Wonder Woman.

The basic Batman also has one accessory, the grappling gun that gives him his moniker "grapnel blast". The accessory is pretty nice, with a decent sculpt and even a couple paint ops.  However, it's way over sized for the smaller basic scale. It says something that my two favorite photos are of the Multiverse figure holding this accessory, rather than the basic figure holding it. The size works a lot better with the slightly larger Multiverse release, and his articulation allows for more dynamic posing.

That's the basic figure looking silly with his big gun in the next photo.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Fun Factor - Basic **; Multi ***
Either of these figures is sturdy enough for heavy back yard play. Neither is really suitable for collector's display shelves, although the Multiverse comes close. If I were buying a figure for my kids to play with, I'd go with the Multiverse.

Another shot of the Multiverse figure is right below.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Value - Multi **; Basic **1/2
Here is the one category where the basic figure beats the Multiverse - value. Unlike Wonder Woman, the Multiverse figure lacks the additional accessories. And she didn't just have more accessories - they were nice ones, too!  The basic release does have the grappling gun, although it is far better suited to go with the larger scale Multiverse figure.

The next photo shows the basic figure again.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Things to Watch Out For -
The hands on the basic figure are VERY hard plastic.  So hard, that if you aren't careful you could damage or rip the handle on the grappling gun when putting it in place or removing it. Another reason why it works better with the Multiverse figure!

Below is the Multiverse figure.

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Overall - Basic **; Multi **1/2
Much like Wonder Woman, the basic movie Batman is a weak figure, even at ten bucks. He's better than an awful 4" figure at $10, but not by much. Useless articulation, terrible paint, and a sculpt that is intentionally NOT movie accurate - how else do you convince 'collectors' to buy the $20 figure? - he's not really worth the money or shelf space.

The Multiverse figure is slightly better, but without the cool accessories that Wonder Woman has, he comes up short compared to other collector focused lines in this same scale, such as Star Wars Black or Funko Legacy. A better paint job and rocker ankles, and you'd be talking about a whole different result.

The final photo in the review is another of the Multiverse figure, again with the gun from the basic figure.  And yes, the best Batman in the group shot below is the Zipline release on the far left, also from Mattel.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - Basic ***; Mutli ***1/2
Sculpting - Basic **1/2; Multi ***
Paint - Basic **; Multi **1/2
Articulation - Basic **; Multi ***
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - Basic **; Multi ***
Value - Multi **; Basic **1/2
Overall - Basic **; Multi **1/2

Batman vs Superman Batman figure comparison by Mattel

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Where to Buy 
These are starting to hit retailers like Target and Toys R Us in pretty good quantities. Online options include these site sponsors:

- has the pre-order for the basic figures at $13, and the Multiverse 'movie master' versions at $22.

- Entertainment Earth has a case of the basic assortment for $120, but none of the Multiverse.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I just covered Wonder Woman as a comparison review last week.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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